Posts Tagged ‘Triple A’

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, April 14, 2014) Today’s national average price at the pump is $3.64 per gallon.  This is six cents more expensive than one week ago, 12 cents more than one month ago, and 11 cents more per gallon than the same date last year.  Last Wednesday, for the first time since January 17, the national average registered higher than the same date the year prior, and today marks the most dramatic year-over-year premium since August 1, 2013.  On this date in 2013 prices were still tumbling from a February 27 peak, while this year prices continue to tick higher approaching the May 1 deadline to switch to summer-blend gasoline production.  Considering these opposite trends, the yearly premium will likely continue to increase in the coming days.

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With slightly more than two weeks remaining before refiners must switch to producing summer-blend gasoline, the national average is at the midpoint of AAA’s forecast made in the beginning of the year.  Each spring, approaching the May 1 deadline for refineries to start producing summer-blend fuel, seasonal refinery maintenance and the changeover itself increases the chances that an unplanned disruption to production may take place. The increased incidence of disruption puts upward pressure on prices, and can send prices sharply higher in an area that is supplied by an impacted facility.  These sorts of issues have been minimal so far this spring but should be watched as we count down to the switchover deadline.  Also, suppliers tend to drawdown their supplies of gasoline at this time of year so as not to be left with higher RVP fuel that they can no longer sell after May 1.  This has been on display in recent weeks, as gasoline stocks nationwide have dwindled.

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Declining inventories coupled with signs of rebounding demand have resulted in rising prices across the country.  Pump prices in every state but four (Wyoming, Alaska, Utah and Colorado) have moved higher over the last week, led by increases of more than ten cents per gallon in Illinois (+10 cents), Arkansas (+11 cents), Alabama (+11 cents) and California (+13 cents).  While drivers in 12 states and Washington D.C. continue to pay less than a year ago – including more than 15 cent discounts in Arizona, Arkansas and Utah – motorists in the majority of states are paying a year-over-year premium.  The most dramatic premiums in and around the Midwest, where drivers in four states pay an average price more than 20 cents per gallon above this date last year: Illinois +23 cents; Kentucky +25 cents; Indiana +25 cents; and Ohio +28 cents.

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International geopolitical issues continue to keep global crude oil prices elevated. Tensions remain heightened in Ukraine following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and there are concerns that sanctions imposed by Western countries might impact exports from Russia.  Additionally, while two Libyan ports have reopened in recent days, returning some of that country’s oil production to the global market, reports that Prime Minister Abdullah Theni has asked to resign following threats to his family are a reminder that significant tensions remain.  At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled 31 cents higher at $104.05 per barrel.  Today’s WTI price is more than $15 higher than on April 15, 2013.

Michael Green(WASHINGTON – April 7, 2014) Today’s national average price at the pump is $3.58 per gallon.  This is two cents more expensive than one week ago and nine cents more than one month ago, but it is still two cents per gallon less expensive than the same date last year.  While the national average remains below the same date 2013, the discount is the smallest since January 20.  Motorists have enjoyed a year-over-year savings at the pump for 80 consecutive days, but that discount could turn to a premium before the week is through. On April 7 last year prices had fallen for 33 of 39 days, today prices have increased for 53 of 59 days.

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The national average continues to edge higher, although it remains at the low-end of AAA’s forecast to begin the year.  Each spring refiners must switch to producing summer-blend gasoline by May 1.  Leading up to this date seasonal refinery maintenance and the changeover to the new blend increases the chances of a disruption to production, which can send prices higher in the area supplied by the impacted facility.  Peak pump prices are likely in sight for many drivers across the country, however temporary spikes are not out of the question for motorists in a region that might be affected by an unexpected disruption.  These sorts of issues have been minimal so far this spring, but the coming weeks will bear watching.

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Pump prices in 36 states and Washington D.C. have moved higher over the last week, led by increases in the Southeast and Gulf Coast.  These increases have been supported by just the type of maintenance outlined above, which has resulted in a number of Texas refineries being offline for planned or unplanned maintenance: Valero’s refinery in Sunray; Alon’s refinery in Big Springs; and Phillips 66’s refinery in Old Ocean.  Despite the consistent increases nationwide, California and Hawaii remain the only states above the $4 per gallon threshold.

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News that Libyan rebels have agreed to reopen two of four closed oil ports in that country added downward pressure to oil prices today.  Following an eight-month closure, the two ports will return a combined 180,000 barrels per day of crude oil supply to the global market.  Despite this news, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil continues to hover near or above $100 per barrel.  WTI settled at $100.44 per barrel, down 70 cents on the day.  Even with the slight decline, today’s WTI price is $7 per barrel higher than the same time last year.

Heather HunterBy Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA

WASHINGTON, D.C, (April 3, 2014) — “This week’s hearings regarding GM’s handling of the Cobalt ignition recall answered a few questions but raised more. With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that NHTSA oversight failed to mitigate the admitted failure of GM to protect the interests of its customers.

While Mary Barra deserves credit for admitting GM’s shortcomings, the notion that a well-established corporate culture of cost can be swiftly replaced with a culture of safety begs further pondering. It is far easier to discuss corporate culture than to actually change it.

There is much more to be learned about what occurred and why. The Department of Justice inquiry should help determine whether the other dimension of the problem is weak legislation/regulation, or weak enforcement, or both.

What is not in doubt is that the motoring public is entitled to better than what we have already observed in this case.”

Michael GreenChange in Behavior Comes as Gasoline Grows Relatively Less Expensive Compared to Previous Years

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 3, 2014) – Americans have grown significantly less likely to change their driving habits or lifestyle to offset gas prices, according to a new survey by AAA. Only half of U.S. adults (53 percent) are doing something to offset gas prices, which is about 15 percent less than in spring 2013. This development comes as gas prices continue to be relatively less expensive compared to previous years.

“Many people seem to be feeling less pressure to make significant changes in their lives on account of high gas prices,” said Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA. “Less expensive gasoline may encourage people to drive more and worry less about the financial burden of filling up their tanks.”

Gasoline demand increased 1.1 percent in 2013, which was the largest annual increase since 2006, according to the Energy Information Administration. Vehicle miles travelled in 2013 similarly increased an estimated 18.1 billion miles, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Gas prices generally have remained less expensive than in previous years due to increased production and supplies. The national average price of gas may not even reach $3.65 per gallon this spring, which would be nearly 15 cents less than the peak in 2013 and about 30 cents less than in 2012.

“People may be less likely to change their habits, but they do not seem any happier at the pumps,” continued Darbelnet. “Many drivers grudgingly realize that paying more than $3.00 per gallon for gasoline is the new normal, but they remain frustrated with the price.”

Most people continue to believe that gas prices are too high with the results similar to a year ago. According to the survey:

  • 40 percent believe gas is too high when the price reaches $3.00 per gallon
  • 50 percent believe gas is too high when the price reaches $3.30 per gallon
  • 65 percent believe gas is too high when the price reaches $3.50 per gallon
  • 91 percent believe gas is too high when the price reaches $4.00 per gallon

Roughly half of Americans say they are changing their driving habits or lifestyle to offset gas prices. Those doing so report:

  • Combining errands or trips: 85 percent
  • Driving less: 84 percent
  • Reducing shopping or dining out: 68 percent
  • Delaying major purchases: 52 percent
  • Driving a more fuel-efficient vehicle: 49 percent
  • Putting aside less money for savings: 42 percent
  • Working closer to home: 41 percent
  • Carpooling: 30 percent
  • Using public transportation more regularly: 17 percent
  • Other: 15 percent

Younger adults ages 18-34 were significantly more likely to offset prices than older adults by working closer to home (60 percent vs. 34 percent), carpooling (49 percent vs. 23 percent) and using public transportation more regularly (32 percent vs. 11 percent).  These results show a potential generational gap regarding gas prices and behavior.

AAA conducted a telephone survey among two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone), consisting of a combined total of 1,011 adults (508 men and 503 women), 18 years of age and older and living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted on March 6-9. The total included 610 interviews from the landline sample and 401 interviews from the cell phone sample. This study has a 95 percent margin of error of ±3.7 percent.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Michael GreenStatement by Kathleen Bower, Vice President of Public Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C, (April 2, 2014) – “AAA agrees with Chairman Ryan that user fees should be a guiding principle of the Highway Trust Fund. User fees are deficit neutral and provide predictable funding on which state and local transportation officials can rely.

“However, Ryan’s budget plan will not provide an appropriate level of investment necessary to build and maintain the nation’s 21st century transportation system.  The significant cuts he is proposing will hamper investments in safety, further delay needed bridge improvements and hamper mobility in and around congested urban areas.

“The best solution for the near term would be a fiscally responsible proposal — such as increasing the federal gas tax coupled with improved accountability — that adds additional revenue to the Highway Trust Fund and helps make America globally competitive over the long term.”

Heather HunterHundreds of high school students across America compete for the opportunity to represent their state in the 65th Annual Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Challenge

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 1, 2014) – Innovation and ingenuity will be on display at locations across the country this spring as the brightest young automotive minds from coast-to-coast will gather to compete for millions of dollars in scholarships in the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition. This year marks the 65th anniversary of the prestigious event, as well as 30 years AAA has been involved in the Student Auto Skills competition; Ford Motor Company began its partnership with the competition 20 years ago.

The 2014 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Challenge State Hands-On competitions will commence Tuesday, April 15 in Birmingham, Ala. and continue across the country through May 15. Top teams from each state advance to the national finals at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich. June 8 – 10. At the national finals, champions from each state will vie for millions of dollars in scholarships, automotive equipment and   a trip to the Wood Brothers Racing facility where the students and instructor will work on race cars and learn from top automotive engineers.

Below are the dates and locations of 2014 FORD AAA State Hands-On Competitions:

  • Birmingham, Ala. – Tuesday, April 15
  • Okmulgee, Okla.  – Thursday, April 17
  • Kansas City, Mo./Kan. – Thursday, April 17
  • Warren, Mich. – Wednesday, April 23
  • Milford, Neb. – Thursday, April 24
  • Indianapolis, Ind. – Friday, April 25
  • Atlanta, Ga. – Friday, April 25
  • Little Rock, Ark. – Friday, April 25
  • Anchorage, Alaska. – Friday, April 25
  • Charlotte, N.C./S.C. – Saturday, April 26
  • Baltimore, Md.  – Saturday, April 26
  • Honolulu, Hawaii – Saturday, April 26
  • Jackson, Miss. – Tuesday, April 29
  • Atco, N.J. – Wednesday, April 30
  • Cheyenne, Wyo. – Thursday, May, 1
  • Bridgeport, W.Va. – Thursday, May 1
  • Sandy, Utah – Thursday, May 1
  • Nashville, Tenn. – Thursday, May 1
  • Sioux Falls, S.D. – Thursday, May 1
  • Warwick, R.I.  – Thursday, May 1
  • Helena, Mont. – Thursday, May 1
  • Alexandria, La.  – Thursday, May 1
  • La Porte, Texas – Friday, May 2
  • West Fargo, N.D. – Friday, May 2
  • Richmond, Va. – Saturday, May 3
  • Epping, N.H./Maine/Vt. – Saturday, May 3
  • Albuquerque, N.M. – Saturday, May 3
  • Renton, Wash. – Tuesday, May 6
  • Mequon, Wis. – Wednesday, May 7
  • Bethlehem, Pa. – Wednesday, May 7
  • Chanhassen, Minn. – Wednesday, May 7
  • Independence, Ohio – Thursday, May 8
  • Norwood, Mass. – Thursday, May 8
  • Sparta, Ky. – Thursday, May 8
  • Gresham, Ore. – Friday, May 9
  • Lisle, Ill. – Friday, May 9
  • Nampa, Idaho – Friday, May 9
  • South Windsor, Conn. – Friday, May 9
  • Danville, Calif. – Friday, May 9
  • Pomona, Calif. – Friday, May 9
  • Avondale, Ariz. – Friday, May 9
  • Denver, Colo. – Saturday, May 10
  • Morrisville, N.Y. – Tuesday, May 13
  • Ankeny, Iowa – Tuesday, May 13
  • Dover, Del. – Tuesday, May 13
  • Sanford, Fla. – Wednesday, May 1
  • Sparks, Nev. – Thursday, May 15

At the State Hands-On Competition, teams will race against the clock to correctly diagnose and repair a deliberately “bugged” 2014 Ford Fiesta SE. A combination an online written exam and hands-on competition scores determine each state’s championship team that will compete in the national finals. For additional details on 2014 State Hands-On Competition locations and dates, visit AutoSkills.AAA.com.

The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition is open to 11th and 12th grade students in secondary schools and colleges across the country that offer courses in automotive technology. Teams competing in the State Hands-On Competitions represent the 10 teams that scored highest on a statewide online written exam, administered at the beginning of the competition in January.

The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition enables many of its participants to embark on promising careers in the automotive repair industry to help fuel the rising demand for well-trained technicians that can repair both computer and mechanical components in today’s advanced vehicles.  Both the national and the state-wide competitions are organized with the support of AAA and Ford personnel, local automotive instructors and the AAA Approved Auto Repair program, a free public service AAA performs to identify quality repair facilities throughout the country.

About Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills

Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is a nationwide automotive technology competition that offers   millions of dollars in scholarships and prizes to high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers as automotive service technicians.  Approximately 13,000 students from across the U.S. compete for the chance to represent their school and state in the National Finals. The competition tests students’ automotive knowledge, workmanship and problem-solving abilities. For additional information on the competition, visit http://autoskills.aaa.com/.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 181,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit corporate.ford.com.

About AAA

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Michael Green

(WASHINGTON, March 31, 2014)

Lowest Gas Prices for March in Four Years Despite Seasonal Price Hikes

  • Today’s national average price of gas is $3.555 per gallon, which is the highest daily average since September 11, 2013. Despite recent increases, the monthly average of $3.507 per gallon was the least expensive for March since 2010.
  • “Spring is the most frustrating time of year for drivers given that gas prices seem to jump every time you get in the car,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “We are seeing the same seasonal hikes this spring, but fortunately gas is not nearly as expensive as in recent years.”
  • Gas prices averaged $3.507 per gallon in March, which was 17 cents per gallon higher than the monthly average in February. Despite the increase, this was the least expensive monthly average for March since 2010. March prices averaged $3.695 per gallon in 2013, $3.829 per gallon in 2012, $3.533 per gallon in 2011 and $2.778 per gallon in 2010.
  • Average gas prices have increased 49 out of 52 days for a total of 29 cents per gallon. Prices are up primarily due to seasonal factors such as refinery maintenance, the switchover to summer-blend gasoline and rising demand. The rate of increase has slowed with the national average price of gas up only three cents per gallon total during the previous two weeks.
  • The national average has remained less expensive than a year ago for 73 consecutive days. Gas prices so far this year have averaged $3.38 per gallon, which is 17 cents per gallon cheaper than in 2013 and 20 cents per gallon less than in 2012 through the same period. Gas prices are less expensive than in recent years primarily because many refineries have increased capacity to take advantage of North American crude oil production. Also, gasoline demand was relatively weak during much of the winter due to strong storms and colder than normal temperatures.
  • The price of domestic West Texas Intermediate crude oil has remained around $100 per barrel for much of the month, which is roughly $10 per barrel higher than a year ago despite lower gas prices. The most recent settlement price for WTI crude was $101.67 per barrel.

 

AAA Expects a Springtime Peak for Gas Prices to Arrive in April

  • AAA has forecast the national average price of gas will peak in April at $3.55-$3.75 per gallon, yet the recent slowdown in price increases suggests the average may not even surpass $3.65 per gallon. AAA expects that the national average will remain less expensive than last year’s peak of $3.79 per gallon.
  • “Peak gas prices for the spring are likely in sight, but there is a good chance that it will cost a little more at the pumps over the next few weeks,” continued Ash. “People are likely to drive more as the weather warms, and refinery production will need to keep pace with demand.”
  • Various factors could push gas prices higher in the near term. Gasoline supplies have shrunk recently due to continued refinery maintenance, the switchover to summer-blend gasoline and an increase in demand. AAA expects that demand will continue to increase as the weather grows warmer and driving increases.
  • Despite an increase in demand, most refineries will have completed maintenance by the end of April, which should allow gasoline supplies to build in advance of the summer driving season. Unexpected developments, such as major refinery problems or geopolitical concerns could result in higher than predicted prices.
  • Gas prices have increased in April three out of the previous five years for an average of three cents per gallon.
  • In 2013, the national average increased 49 cents per gallon over a 41-day period before peaking at $3.79 per gallon on February 27. In 2012, the national average increased 56 cents per gallon over a 70-day period before peaking at $3.94 per gallon on April 5. In 2011, national average increased 89 cents per gallon during a 94-day period before peaking at $3.98 per gallon on May 5.

Drivers in 48 States Paying Higher Gas Prices than a Month Ago

  • Drivers in every state, except Ohio and Pennsylvania, are paying higher gas prices than a month ago. The largest price increases during the previous month include: Oregon (25 cents), Washington (24 cents), Florida (21 cents), Kentucky (19 cents) and California (15 cents).
  • The five states with the highest average prices today include: Hawaii ($4.24), California ($4.00), Alaska ($3.82), New York ($3.77) and Connecticut ($3.77). The five states with the lowest average prices include: Montana ($3.28), South Carolina ($3.28), Louisiana ($3.31), Mississippi ($3.32) and Arkansas ($3.34).
  • The most expensive metro area in the continental U.S. is San Luis Obispo-Atascadero-Paso Robles, Calif. at $4.12 per gallon. The least expensive metro area is Great Falls, Mont. at $3.18 per gallon.
  • Today’s national average is about eight cents per gallon cheaper than a year ago, which is a significant difference from late February when the national average was about 39 cents per gallon cheaper than the same day in 2013. The gap has narrowed because prices continue to rise, while the national average a year ago had already fallen 15 cents per gallon from its peak high.

AAA updates fuel price averages daily at www.FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com. Every day up to 120,000 stations are surveyed based on credit card swipes and direct feeds in cooperation with the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability. All average retail prices in this report are for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline. For more information, contact Michael Green at 202-942-2082, mgreen@national.aaa.com.

 

Michael GreenStatement by Avery Ash, Director of Federal Relations

WASHINGTON, D.C, (March 31, 2014) – “AAA supports NHTSA’s announcement requiring that automakers install rear view cameras on all passenger vehicles by 2018.  Rearview cameras can help prevent needless injury and death among our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.

Rearview cameras can be very useful in detecting people and objects behind the vehicle, but there are limitations as with any technology. Drivers will still need to turn and check blind spots behind and to the side of the car while backing up in order to ensure safety.”

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, March 31, 2014) Today’s national average price at the pump is $3.55 per gallon.  This is three cents more expensive than one week ago and 10 cents more than one month ago, but it is still eight cents per gallon less than the same date last year.  While the year-over-year discount remains, it is the narrowest it’s been since January 28.  At this time last year, pump prices were still tumbling from their late February peak, so the discount is likely to close and return to a premium in the coming days.

The national average continues to creep higher and today entered the range that AAA expects prices to peak: between $3.55 and $3.75 per gallon.  Prices may move a little higher in the coming weeks; however the end is likely in sight for many drivers across the country. The exception to this trend could be motorists in regions where unexpected refinery or distribution issues cause prices to temporarily spike.  Every spring refiners are required to switch to producing summer-blend gasoline by May 1.  This seasonal refinery maintenance and the actual changeover itself increases the possibility of a disruption to production, which can send prices higher in an area that is normally supplied by a limited or offline facility.  These sorts of refinery issues have been minimal this spring, but the coming weeks will bear close attention.

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Pump prices in all but seven states have moved higher over the last week, led by an eight-cent increase in Florida and a seven-cent increase in Washington D.C.  Today, for the first time since September, drivers in California pay an average gas price above $4 per gallon.  California and Hawaii are the only states above this threshold.

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Weak global economic data and the growing consensus that geopolitical tensions with Russia are unlikely to disrupt crude oil distribution have kept a cap on crude oil prices. However the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) has remained near or above $100 per barrel, which is $5-10 higher than the price last year. This trend continued today as the price of WTI settled at $101.58 per barrel, down nine cents on the day.

 

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, March 24, 2014) Today’s national average price at the pump is $3.53 per gallon.  This is 14 cents more expensive than one month ago, but just a penny above one week ago and 17 cents per gallon less than the same date last year.  The average pump price has increased on 42 of the past 45 days.

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While the national average was flat over the last week, AAA expects prices will rise a bit more before peaking between $3.55 and $3.75 per gallon in the coming weeks. How much more prices rise will likely be dictated by the impact of seasonal refinery maintenance and any disruptions to production or distribution.  As is the case each spring, refiners are required to switchover to producing summer-blend gasoline by May 1.  The maintenance that refineries undertake in advance of the switchover and the actual switch itself increases the chance of disruptions to production, which can send prices higher in an area that is normally supplied by a limited or offline facility.  While refinery issues have thus far been minimal this spring, the next several weeks will bear close attention.

Drivers in and around Memphis, Tennessee are acutely aware of the potential for production issues.  Reported sooner than expected maintenance at the 195,000 barrel per day Valero refinery in Memphis has led to higher prices for motorists and even some reports that stations are unable to get unbranded gasoline.  These supply issues are likely to be resolved in the coming weeks; however rising prices in the affected region would be expected to outpace any national increase until then.

Pump prices in most states have moved higher over the last week, led by a six cent increase in Texas, however prices did fall in 20 states, including a 14-cent tumble in Ohio.  Midwest, and in particular Great Lakes, states have consistently topped the list of most dramatic price changes.  When prices have fallen in these states, they’ve fallen sharply and when they’ve increased, they’ve increased quickly.

This is also true over the last month, where prices in Michigan and Indiana top the list of increases along followed closely the Pacific Northwest.

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Only prices in Hawaii are above the $4 per gallon threshold.  Drivers in California pay the most in continental U.S. ($3.97), followed by a handful of states the Northeast (New York and Connecticut: $3.77; and Maine: $3.64) and the Great Lakes region (Illinois: $3.75; Michigan: $3.72; and Indiana: $3.68).

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Lofty domestic crude oil supplies have largely offset geopolitical tensions with Russia and positive U.S. economic data, as crude oil prices continue to trade in a narrow range. West Texas Intermediate crude settled 14 cents higher at $99.60 per gallon.

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